For fans of HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver though, it was just a hilarious callback to a long-running joke.
While accepting the Emmy award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series on the behalf of the show’s writers, Last Week Tonight writer Chrissy Shackelford ended her speech with a special nod to the 37-year-old Marriage Story star.
“And finally, we would like to dedicate this award to Adam Driver,” she said in a rather stern tone. “He knows what he did. And we know what we’d like him to do.”
That line got a lot of laughs, including a hearty chuckle from her boss John Oliver, 44, who was onstage with Shackelford and a few of Last Week Tonight’s “hottest writers” for the show’s sixth consecutive win in the category.
It’s a cheeky joke, but the thirsty Driver dedication is very on brand for the weekly late night comedy series that has regularly referred to the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker actor over the course of the pandemic.
It started back in August 2020, when Oliver asked Driver to “crush my ribcage, you load-bearing behemoth,” while discussing then President Donald Trump’s promise to build a border wall.
The running gag escalated over the next few months with the comedian randomly asking the Annette star to do things like “sneeze in my McFlurry you pensive bison,” “snap off my toes you big unwashed buffalo,” “crush my larynx, you unwieldy boulder” and “pull my heart out through my ear, you meaty oak tree” —all of which sound rather painful.
It came to a head in November 2020 when Driver appeared on the season 7 finale to call out “the strange, strange bit that for some reason you’ve pulled me into.”
By the end of that episode, Oliver promised that he would stop with the risqué non-sequiturs. “Consider this bit over. It’s done,” the host claimed. Yet it appears his writers just couldn’t help themselves and Oliver, whose show also won the Emmy for Outstanding Variety Talk Series, seemed to understand their dilemma.
“We noticed him last year, I don’t know if you noticed us noticing him,” Oliver said backstage at the Emmys, according to Entertainment Weekly. “If he’s mad about it, that’s what we are looking for.”
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